Why remembering SOUP will transform your content marketing
How can you keep your content marketing efficient and effective? Doug Marshall, managing director of the information and learning services marketing agency Achieve B2B Marketing, explains how following a simple acronym can help.
Imagine you’re a B2B buyer. You need to make a big purchasing decision that will affect your company’s success and your career too.
Before you speak to a salesperson you’re going to want to do a lot of research. And you’ll need to share this research with a large group of stakeholders. As you go through this process it’s likely that one thing will be on your mind: trust. Relevant, informative, and educational content plays an important role in building this trust
So, when done well, great content marketing can be transformational for brand reputation and lead conversions. That’s why I've devised the 'SOUP' acronym to help you remember four key rules for planning great content marketing. Let’s start with S...
Make your content so useful and insightful that your audience will want to share it on social media. Use relevant hashtags and handles, and make sure your content is part of an ongoing social media programme that’s part of your marketing calendar.
Keep customer-facing colleagues informed of what’s being published so they know when to share relevant content with their audiences. Your audience is more likely to engage with real people than your corporate social media account. Video generally gets better traction in social media posts than text.
Your content will much more likely be shared by salespeople when it helps answer their customers’ questions, so involve sales colleagues when choosing subjects and keep open communication about your marketing calendar.
You’ll want to make sure that your content not only appears highly in Google searches but that your content also has a positive impact on your website’s overall SEO. To do this create content using targeted keywords to attract visitors to your website. At the same time be careful not to overuse them as this can be offputting for readers.
Consider how you can get valuable inbound links from trusted external websites. One way to do this is to research and identify relevant websites that would feature your content, and in doing so provide a hyperlink to your website.
For content that is appearing on your own website, complete fields for meta tags in your content management system (CMS) to help Google know what content you are featuring. Popular CMSs such as WordPress have SEO plug-ins that proactively guide you to complete them. Write a meta description for your content. It doesn’t affect Google’s algorithms but will appear in many search results, prompting readers to click through to your content.
Create content that will really help your prospect. Ask some customers what content is going to really help them in their job. Don’t restrict yourself to the usual types of content. The most useful content can simply be a checklist. Someone I knew built their lead generation on offering really useful templated contracts. Providing a glossary can be extremely helpful to people new to an industry, (they’re great for SEO too).
Also, consider your customers’ customers. What would your customers like to know about their customers? What invaluable insights could you bring? Survey results of your customers’ customers are likely to be highly useful for your target market. Content about future trends is often useful, particularly for C-suite.
When it comes to planning content I advise being brutally honest about the purpose of your content. What’s the end result? To do this consider the business conversations with prospects your company needs to have to win specific work. This can help you decide the subject, media, channel, and the audience that are most likely to have the impact you need.
Plan content for specific stages of the funnel, so each piece of content is purposeful. Planning content is a bit like playing chess - always think of the next move. Infographics and short videos are going to be more relevant for the top-of-the-funnel activity. Webinars and thought leadership documents are likely to be more relevant further down the funnel when your prospects may be more aware of your brand and will trust you with their contact details. Whatever the content, make sure you’ve thought of the next move, what’s your CTA?
From writing a blog to editing a video, organising a webinar to creating a guide, content marketing takes time and resources. Each stage - ideation, creation, distribution, and measurement - also takes time. So it’s important to do content marketing well to get a good return on your investment in time, money, and resources. Use SOUP to remember those key elements of good content marketing - keep it shareable, optimised, useful and purposeful. Your sales and marketing colleagues will be thankful - and so will that B2B buyer.
You can find more articles by Doug at Achieve B2B Marketing, and you can follow him on Twitter.